By JOHN McBRIDE
Fort Dodge, IA
Despite a two-hour wait to start his round, 2005 champion Ryan Kinseth grabbed a four-stroke lead after the first day of the 34th annual Messenger city golf tournament, sponsored by Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota.
Kinseth, last year’s runner-up, was the only golfer to break par, shooting a four-under 67 at the Fort Dodge Country Club Saturday. Lucas Peed, who last won this tournament in 2003, was sitting at even-par 71 and in second place. Austin Morrow was at 72.
In the women’s open division, three-time champion Kelsey Faiferlick all but wrapped up another title with a one-under 71 at Lakeside, giving her a 19-stroke lead heading into today’s round.
In the men’s senior division, Rick Jones matched Kinseth with a 67 at FDCC, giving him a three-shot lead over Dave Hanson. Defending champion Peg Christensen shot an 85 at Lakeside to lead by one shot over Diane Blomker in the women’s senior division.
Kinseth carded birdies on No. 6 and 7 on the front side and Nos. 10, 15 and 18 on the back. He settled for bogey on No. 5 and No. 13.
“It was a good round, except for those two dumb holes,” Kinseth said. “Other than that, I hit the ball well. The weather really wasn’t a factor. I like playing in the cool weather.”
Morning golfers had to wait 90 minutes to tee off at the Country Club. That pushed the afternoon rounds back until about 2:30.
Kinseth, who won the Hampton Open and Lakeside Amateur, also held the first-day lead at the Fort Dodge Am, but struggled to a 77 and dropped out of contention on the second day.
“Hopefully I can do better than I did at the Amateur,” he said. “I still have to go out and make shots.”
Peed, who has won this tournament twice, finished in a tie for fourth last year. Defending champion Phil Ruth shot 77 Saturday.
Faiferlick put up the lowest score of her life at Lakeside as she seeks to become the fourth woman in city golf history to win four titles or more. She closed with a flurry, carding birdies on the last three holes.
“I was just able to make some good shots,” said Faiferlick, who won her first title just after graduating high school. “Something just clicked. I’m just going to try to play my game (today).”
Brenda Hebert sits in second with a 90 and DeAnn Faiferlick is third at 93. Faiferlick would join Heather Frye, Roxanne Kuhlman and Stacey Bergman with at least four titles. Kuhlman won five times, including the first year of the tournament in 1991. Bergman won five straight from 1993-1997 and Frye won four in a row from 2006-2009. Kuhlman won in 1988 and added titles in 200-2002. She’s also added senior titles in 2010 and 2011.
Jones and Hanson have never won the men’s senior division. They are being chased by Dean Underberg, who has won the senior division five times, the last in 2009. He fired an even-par 71. Dean Wendell and Jim Dalton, a three-time winner himself, are next in line at 72. Defending senior champ Terry Miller shot an 82 to open the tournament.
Christensen and Blomker distanced themselves from the rest of the senior women’s division. The next golfer is 16 strokes behind. Blomker is seeking her sixth senior title.
Today’s men’s players tee off at Lakeside at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., flipping start times from Saturday’s round. The championship nine should start around 6:30 p.m. The women’s field tees off at the Country Club for its final 18 holes starting at 8:46 a.m.